How The Low Country Attracts Developers And Residents
Goose Creek, South Carolina is a city of over 40,000 in the metro Charleston area. It is not blessed with the historic architecture of that city, or with the broad beaches of neighboring coastal communities. Yet Goose Creek has become one of the fastest-growing cities in Berkeley County.
“This is a rapidly growing community that has been growing for a long time,” says economic development director Matt Brady. “But, until recently, we had growing pains without the amenities. People from here drove to Summerville or to North Charleston to visit shops or restaurants. As the area has grown, what used to be a five-minute trip now takes much longer.”
Goose Creek has a median household income of $65,000 and a median home price of $208,000, which is about half of what a comparable house sells for in Charleston. And, unlike neighboring communities, the city wants developers, businesses and entrepreneurs to know that it is open for business.
It started that initiative four years ago by hiring Brady, the first economic development director in Goose Creek history.
“We created an ordinance that focuses on infill development,” he says. “And we are encouraging the creative re-use of old buildings. Goose Creek had an old fire station, which we sold via a request for proposals. The project was awarded to the coolest proposal that develops gathering space. So, in April 2021, the Creek City Grill and Brewery will open. It is highly anticipated by locals.”
Goose Creek’s economy has long been supported by military bases, including the Naval Weapons Station Charleston, which is located within the city. The economy and the population have grown as companies like Boeing, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Bosch have located here.
“The Charleston region’s labor pool, as a whole, has grown three times faster than the U.S. average and twice as fast as South Carolina’s average,” Brady points out.
Another driver of the area economy is the Port of Charleston. With the deepest harbor on the U.S. East coast, it is the most productive U.S. port with the fastest turnaround times. On track for a March 2021 opening is the Leatherman Terminal, the first container terminal to open in the U.S. since 2009. The terminal will increase cargo capacity by 50%.
“The port recently welcomed the largest ship to ever visit the U.S. East coast,” Brady says. “The Charleston region is strategically positioned and equipped to ensure efficiency and speed-to-market in supply chain management and logistics.
“We get investors calling us all the time,” he says. “And we want them to know that we want development and we have a reasonable development process. When partnered with real estate prices that neighboring communities can’t compete with, it makes Goose Creek irresistible to homeowners and developers alike.”